The Corner

‘McCain vs. the Constitution’


That’s the title of a Jonathan Chait post on DADT from a couple of days ago, which I only now caught up with. Chait quotes McCain as referring to President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, “neither of which I [McCain] view as a military leader.” Chait pounces: “Isn’t the message that John McCain does not respect civilian control of the military?”

Actually, no. Obama and Gates are not, strictly speaking, military leaders; they are civilian leaders of the military. I doubt strongly that McCain questions civilian control at all; in fact, he is exercising it, as a – civilian, remember – U.S. senator. The generals have their opinion, the leaders of the Executive Branch have theirs – and as a civilian elected representative, McCain is asserting his right to agree with one and disagree with the other. I am pretty confident that when Republicans control the White House, and Democrats the Congress, Chait will appreciate how important this congressional aspect of civilian control really is. (NB. I make this point strictly to insist on fairness for McCain, against what I consider to be an unfounded attack. On the underlying issue, I disagree with him, and favor scrapping DADT.)

Most Popular


Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his ... Read More

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More